The credibility of the judicial process comes from the office of the judge and his or her individual and institutional reputation for independence, asserted justice Ruma Pal, former judge of the Supreme Court of India.
“The independence of the judiciary and of judicial system ultimately depends on the personal integrity of each judge. It goes without saying that judges have to be above corruption,” Pal said, while speaking on ‘An Independent Judiciary’.
Pal was speaking at the fifth VM Tarkunde Memorial Lecture organised by Tarkunde Memorial Foundation and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties on Thursday.
“Judicial independence cannot exist without accountability. There is a need for an effective mechanism for enforcing judicial accountability,” Pal said.
Earlier, she pointed out that while judges are fierce in using the word ‘independence’ as a sword to take action in contempt against critics, the word is also used as shield to cover a multitude of sins.
‘Brushing under the carpet or turning a Nelsonian eye’, ‘hypocrisy’, ‘secrecy’, ‘plagiarism’, ‘intellectual arrogance or intellectual dishonesty’ and ‘nepotism’” were among the sins she said practicing lawyers committed.
In his introductory remarks, Soli J Sorabjee, former attorney general for India, said Pal is known for her “uncompromising judicial independence,” while veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar, called Tarkunde as the “father of human rights movement in the country.”
The gathering at the occasion comprised several judges of the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court and planning commission head Montek Singh Ahluwalia.